Hello Laura, can you tell us how long you've been writing?
I have been seriously studying the craft since 2008, but have been writing since I was a teenager.
Do you attend a writing group?
I just recently found one in my local area. It’s been a huge blessing to have some interaction face-to-face with other writers.
What genre(s)/types of things do you write? What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
I write a nonfiction series of devotionals titled the Battle Cry Devotional Series. I stumbled into nonfiction when I did a personal study on finding the Lord’s Rest. I also write fiction which would be classified as inspirational romantic suspense. My first novella in my Raven’s Cliff Castle Series of three was requested by a publisher. I am waiting back to hear if they will pick it up or if I self-publish.
Have you ever had anything published?
A Mom’s Battle Cry for Rest is available on Amazon. The link is in the BIO information below. I hope to have it up on Kindle within the next week or two.
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers? Have you received any rejections?
I’ve written several children’s stories and received some very nice, cordial rejection letters. I also had a dialogue back and forth with an agent who liked my fiction work, but in the end didn’t pick it up for representation.
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing? Why/why not? Are you interested in eBooks, or do you prefer the old fashioned paper-made books?
I am self-publishing my Battle Cry devotionals. They are set in an easy 7-day format and I am not sure a publisher would pick up a 70-some odd page book. I think they are important though, in the lives of women and mothers, so I am self-publishing the series. I love paper books, but am offering the series in ebook form. My husband convinced me some busy Moms may not take the time to wait for a paperback in the mail, although the paperback has benefits such as space for writing.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I write what God puts on my heart. I get my inspiration from my own life as the mother of five sons and also, in my fiction, which is what I would like to read myself if I were to buy a book in a book store.
What is your writing routine? Do you write daily or just when you feel like it? Is there a certain time of day where you are at your most creative?
I write every day. I carry a notepad in my purse if I’m not going to be home and also, I have a paper and pen close-by during the day for moments of inspiration. I also do type directly into Word, but write with paper and pen as well.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I usually start with one scene in my head or an epiphany of sorts that I try to search out and understand.
Do you have an editing process? Do you have someone else read over your work? Do you read your work aloud to yourself in front of the mirror?
I have several people I run the work by before I would think of publishing. I have friends who read it for content and understanding and a few that have helped me edit before publishing.
What is your writing environment like?
My house is very busy. I tend to write when my guys are at school or in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I get up at 3:00 am and then go back to bed at 6:00 for an hour’s rest before getting the kids up and ready for school.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I love words strung together that actually bring life to a moment or thought and transport you to that place. I can write something, edit it, and then read and reread and wonder in awe how all of those words put together convey what I was meaning to say or had pictured in my head. The thing I least enjoy about writing would be releasing them to the world. It’s like saying goodbye and exposing myself. It’s all part of the process though and I believe, if I left myself behind in a closet somewhere, people wouldn’t really be interested in what I have to say.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
I read somewhere along the way that being a writer is like being a bell. If you just sit there and don’t do anything then you’re not doing your job. A bell is meant to be rung. A bell is meant to be heard. I think at the end of my life, if I hadn’t shared any of my writing, it would be okay for me personally. I tend to be on the shy side. However, is that what God intended when He made me a “bell”, a writer? So, I push the shyness aside and the self-consciousness and share who I am and what I write.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
I have a great post on my blog about writing and dreams and doubts. Believe it. Write. You can view it here: http://www.theoldstonewall.blogspot.com/2012/12/dreams-and-doubts_3979.html
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
I love to spend time with my kids and my husband. I enjoy sewing and creating blankets for friends and family (and had a few shown in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Christian Women’s Voice Magazine). What’s better than a soft cozy blanket?!
A soft, cozy blanket, with a steaming mug of hot chocolate (cream and marshmallows are optional)?! If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
What I’m writing now. Every writer’s voice is different. It would be hard to fit into another person’s words.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
I read the Bible. I read inspirational historical fiction, romantic suspense, cozy mysteries. I do read things outside of these genres and enjoy learning about new things and being exposed to the unknown if it is for building up and not tearing down.
Do you judge books by their covers? How important is cover art to you as a reader and a writer?
I do judge books by their covers. I think a nice cover is very important. This is something I will invest in if I publish the Raven’s Cliff Castle Series on my own.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotes?
“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.” - Margaret Atwood
Where can we find you on the internet?
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-J-Marshall/267562393377613Amazon Link to A Mom’s Battle Cry for Rest: http://www.amazon.com/Moms-Battle-Cry-Rest-Devotional/dp/1481140884/
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on the second book in my fiction series. The first book is finished and the third book is just waiting for an ending. I want to tie them all up in the last book, so I’m writing the second. It’s a joy to write about rambunctious Kate all grown up (from book one). I am also finishing up the second book in the Battle Cry Devotional Series, A Mom’s Battle Cry to Overcome Fear.
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
When God first brought this book to mind as I wrote the chapter “The Sword” in A Mom’s Battle Cry for Rest, I resisted the thought. Later, as again it was brought before me, I cried out in my head, “I can’t!” That’s when I knew that somewhere deep down fear still had me in its grip and though it wasn’t somewhere I lived, a part of me was still enslaved.Several nights later I had dreams of running through a large home, securing the many windows and doors. They didn’t seem secure enough or strong enough to keep whatever it was I was afraid of out. It was there. It lurked and watched me. I could see one door was still open yet it was unreachable. The dogs outside in the yard barked and pawed the ground. They felt the watching too. Did they sense my fear? I cried deep inside, “I don’t want to live there again.”But here I am again; I take this journey with you. Not from the same depths as before, but I climb again and make the ascent.This is A Mom’s Battle Cry to Overcome Fear.
© Laura Marshall
Thank you very much Laura.